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  • by Alan Smithee with Roderick Robertsonby Alan Smithee with Roderick Robertson

    TheMythicSeasTheMythicSeas

  • The Mythic SeasC R E D I T S

    The Mythic SeasC R E D I T S

    Project: Redcap archives and links to many of the fan-creat-ed Ars Magica pages on the World Wide Web. To get toProject: Redcap, point your browser athttp://www.redcap.org/

    Ars Magica, The Mythic Seas, Mythic Europe, Covenants,and Charting New Realms of Imagination are trademarks ofTrident, Inc. Atlas Games and the Atlas Games logo aretrademarks of John Nephew and Trident, Inc. Order ofHermes and Tremere are trademarks of White Wolf, Inc.and are used with permission.

    1998, 2004 Trident, Inc. d/b/a Atlas Games. All rightsreserved. Reproduction of this work by any means withoutwritten permission from the publisher, except short excerptsfor the purpose of reviews, is expressly prohibited.

    Saint Paul, Minnesotainfo@atlas-games.com

    WWW.ATLAS-GAMES.COM

    DIGITAL EDITION VERSION 1.0 DECEMBER 2004

    Design: Alan Smithee

    Additional Design (Shipbuilding, Shiphandling, and Trade Mechanics): Roderick Robertson

    Development, Editing, Layout, and Project Management: Jeff Tidball

    Editorial Assistance: John Nephew

    Cover Illustration: Jeff Menges

    Interior Illustrations: Ralph Horsley, Eric Hotz, Eric Pommer, and Doug Shuler; also featuring woodcuts from Medieval Life Illustrations

    Special Thanks: Bob Brynildson, Jerry Corrick, Nicole Lindroos, Link Martineau, and all of Ars Magicas fans around the world

    Commentary and Playtesting: Adam Bank, David Chart, Jeremiah Genest, Spike Jones, and Marc Philipp Messner

    About the AuthorsAlan Smithee eschews recitations of his educational

    credentials in favor of inviting you to read his works andjudge for yourself. But the players in his troupe seemhappy.

    Roderick Robertson lives in a modest home inMilpitas, a small town bravely defending itself from theravages of Silicon Valley. He works at Intel, a smallmicrochip manufacturer (sort of like Granny Goose:Crash all you want, well make more) as a roustaboutand clown. His real life begins outside the walls of TheCorporation, however, and he spends his time paintingfigures, writing things, and playing with the wife and pets Scaramouche and Lochinvar the dogs, Berengaria therabbit, and Lucinda, Iolanthe, and Nepenthe the cats. Hisgoal is to win the California Lottery and retire in luxury.

    Authors NoteThe Mythic Seas is offered not as a complete descrip-

    tion of medieval ships, maritime trade, and naval warfare,but rather as a general treatment of those subjects for pur-poses of weaving interesting tales for Ars Magica. Playerswho hunger for more detail and realism are stronglyencouraged to do their own research and develop systemsas simple or complex as they like for the concepts pre-sented here. Just remember: the point is to tell a goodstory.

  • Table of ContentsTable of Contents

    I: Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4The Seas of Mythic Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4The Journeys of Edward the White . . . . . . . 5

    II. Ships and Sailing . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Creating a Ship. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13Sample Ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Sailing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Hazards at Sea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Repairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29Combat at Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

    III. Life on the Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . 33Life Aboard Ship. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33Mundane Hazards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37Mythic Hazards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Travel Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43Notable Ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44Ports and Places . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46The Mechanics of Trade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

    IV. Of the Hermetic Seas . . . . . . . . . 59Covenants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59Seafaring Archetypes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65Companions and Grogs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

    V. Magic of the Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . 75Spells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75Artifacts of the Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

    VI. Maritime Bestiary . . . . . . . . . . 87Mundane Sea-Beasts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87Magical Sea-Beasts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90Epilogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

    Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

    Map: The Seas of Mythic Europe . . . . 96

  • Chapter 1

    IntroductionChapter 1

    Introduction

    4

    The Seas ofMythic Europe

    The lands of Mythic Europe are filledwith all manner of strange places, peoples,and creatures, almost too numerous todescribe. So too are the seas of MythicEurope. More than just a vast, watery mirrorof the medieval world,the mythic seas are ineffect separate king-doms where differentlaws apply the lawsof nature. In the thou-sands of years sincepeople first venturedout onto the waves,many a mariner haspaid with his life forattempting to violatethose laws or forsimply not knowingthem.

    In an age when theability to swim is notcommonly learned,and even less common-ly taught, any body of water holds a certainamount of dread. The sea, with its unforgiv-ing depths and unknown reaches, is a placewhere mystery and terror go hand-in-hand.Yet for all its wonders and horrors, medieval

    man has hardly hesitated to explore andexploit the sea, at first in small one-manboats, later aboard large rafts and oar-pro-pelled galleys and barges. Now, in the 13thcentury, maritime engineering has given menmassive ships with which to sail to strangenew lands, sometimes to trade, sometimes tomake war. Still, though a man can build anempire that bows to his every whim, he cannever quite conquer the sea.

    Even the members of the Order ofHermes, more capable of plumbing the

    depths of the seas thanmost medieval folk,have done little so farto bend the waves totheir will. Certainlysome magi have tried,and a few have actuallyachieved remarkableresults; their efforts area monument to theingenuity of man andmagus alike. But for alltheir knowledge andpower, the Order ofHermes rules the seano more than any kingor emperor. The bonesof many a mortal lie inwatery graves, with the

    bones of magi right alongside them.Hermetic magi are driven by the same

    lusts for knowledge, treasure, and power asordinary men, though they differ in how theyseek it and how they make use of it. Where

    The Journeys ofEdward the White

    Throughout The Mythic Seas, youll comeacross excerpts from The Journeys ofEdward the White. These describe howEdward the White, follower of Jerbiton,set forth in search of the lost relics offabled Atlantis. In these excerpts Edwardrecounts his travels, telling of all he learnsof sailing and ships, the natural and magi-cal dangers he encounters, the ships andsailors he meets, the ports where he rests,the covenants he visits, and the amazingsights he sees during his quest.

  • most seafaring men pull food from the water,or travel upon it, seafaring magi dredge up allmanner of fantastic riches and relics. Someeven make their homes upon and some-times under the waves. In some unusualcases men and magi work side-by-side to findand recover what each considers valuable, orto journey to places mystic or mundane. Itseasy to see what both gain. What mariner hasnot wished for a way to quiet a raging storm,or to find fresh water while lying becalmedand adrift? And by the same token, whatmagus who has traveled on the water has notneeded a strong, sure crew to pull the oars ortrim the sails, or to plot a safe course to a spoton a map that only a magus could read?

    Here then is what every storyguide needsto know to tell tales of adventure on themythic seas. Of course, any storyguide maychoose to underplay sea-voyages in the inter-ests of brevity, but doing so overlooks hun-dreds of opportunities. The purpose of thisbook is to suggest a few of those and spark the

    storyguides imagination to create more, sothat fewer journeys by sea are described inonly a single sentence.

    The Journeys ofEdward theWhite

    I am Edward, called the White, filiusJames of Lincoln, follower of Jerbiton, and Icount myself an explorer of mythic places.What follows is my journal, recording thesearch I have undertaken in the forty-thirdyear of my life in the Order of Hermes.Should my search fail and I not return, per-haps what I have learned will serve to teach

    INTRODUCTION

    5

  • others what is needed to complete my quest.My tale begins with the arrival of Willem

    the Redcap, who brought with him a strangemessage from one Pandectus of Lions Gate, afollower of Tremere dwelling alone in awealthy covenant in the ruins of ancientMycenae, in the Tribunal of Thebes.Pandectus knew of my reputation as a seekerafter lost artifacts and made me an uniqueoffer. He had, he said, located a volume trans-lated from the ancient Greek, purporting tobe a detailed guide for mariners on the loca-tion of sunken Atlantis! Of course I was mostinterested, but I was already planning toundertake for the Stonehenge Tribunal thethorough mapping of Faerie upon the back ofthe famed Horse of Uffington. Clearly thesetwo would conflict, but after some meditationmy choice became clear; the chance to findand explore the legendary Atlantis was fartoo enticing to put off. I sent word toPandectus, agreeing to pursue this goal. Then

    I proceeded to gather about me all the infor-mation I would need, largely on the historyand methods of sea travel. Bu